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June 29, 2012

Liberals: Oh No You Can't Use Reconciliation To Undo ObamaTax
Republican Senators: Oh Yes We Will

Some pre-emptive butthurt from liberals:

@timothypmurphy: Old enough to remember when reconciliation was an unconscionable abuse of power.

Right, because only you get to use reconciliation to pass a bill, but it would be hypocritical of us to take you at your word -- that the bill is subject to reconciliation -- to repeal it.

Kaus wonders why liberals believe this.

If a law can be passed via reconciliation, how on earth could someone argue with a straight face that it would be improper to modify it -- or repeal it -- via the same process?

Huh? The individual mandate is a tax! The Supreme Court has now told us. Maybe the Senate parliamentarian calls it something else–but whatever you call it, it raises revenue and repealing it would have a budgetary effect, and hence be reconciliationable. Here’s Republican Congressional expert Keith Hennessey admitting that the mandate is subject to reconciliation (and this at a time when his interest was in blocking Obamacare, which meant having as few things subject to reconciliation as possible). Certainly the GOPs could cut the monetary penalty (ax-tay) for not having health insurance to, say, a dime. That would certainly have a budgetary effect and a C.B.O. score.

Maybe the exchanges themselves wouldn’t be reconcilable, but if Romney could get rid of the mandate and the subsidies the exchanges would be stripped of their power as a vehicle to ensure universal coverage. Obamacare would effectively be repealed.

I have no idea why you'd think the exchanges couldn't be repealed by reconciliation -- I say again, they were enacted by reconciliation. If they were fit subjects for reconciliation then -- as part of a "comprehensive scheme" that included, but was not limited to, budgetary matters -- then they can be reconciled away via a "comprehensive scheme" of repeal.

Republican Senators say they're eyeing just this tactic. I wonder what on earth would stay their hand, though, except a desire to betray their voters.

Doing so would be a grievous mistake.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) seemed open to that approach during a speech at The Heritage Foundation shortly after the Supreme Court handed down its decision. The court’s ruling “does present some options for us” to pursue more unconventional options for repeal, DeMint said. He mentioned reconciliation as a potential avenue.

A senior Senate Republican aide involved in the repeal effort later confirmed to Scribe that the GOP will use the budget reconciliation process to repeal the full law, not just the portion requiring all Americans purchase health insurance.

We need 51 Senate seats. That makes it critical to win Democratic seats in Red States -- like Jon Tester's. Tester is popular in Montana, and will of course vote to keep ObamaTax. He'll almost certainly lie about this, but in the end he will vote as he did before -- for ObamaTax.

I don't know what on earth it will take to get Red State voters to finally wake up to this reality. But I know we need to try.

At the end of the say, insult them with an ad asking "Are you really this stupid?," if nothing else works. But they have to be disabused of this idea that just because a Democrat poses in ads with a shotgun that he'll do anything but vote liberal on the tough votes.



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posted by Ace at 10:12 AM

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